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Medical Codes Add Up to Dream Job For TSTC Grad

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Maria Morales recently graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Technology from TSTC’s Harlingen campus and was hired for a full-time job at South Heart Clinic. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)
Maria Morales recently graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Technology from TSTC’s Harlingen campus and was hired for a full-time job at South Heart Clinic. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)

Mega Doctor News

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HARLINGEN, Texas – Maria Morales remembers the feeling of happiness that she felt when she was awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Technology during Texas State Technical College’s recent Spring Commencement.

That happiness increased exponentially two days later when Morales accepted a full-time job offer as a medical records clerk at South Heart Clinic in Harlingen.

“I’ve been working part time at South Heart Clinic since March,” she said. “My boss surprised me with the full-time job offer. I was nervous, shocked and excited. I first started doing my practicum at the medical company in January. It was hard trying to balance the part-time job and my studies because I’m a mother. But I did it, and I have a great job I will enjoy.”

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Elisa Pacheco, reception supervisor for South Heart Clinic, said Morales handled her workload quickly and efficiently.

“My medical records employee who trained her was impressed with her work ethic,” Pacheco said. “Maria is a motivated person who is eager to learn and prove her worth. She has shown that she is ready for the job, and we are eager to see her growth in the company.”

Morales said the work culture feels like home.

“I love how the team treats me,” she said. “This is the best job I’ve ever had.”

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Morales said her interest in health care started with a desire to help others.

“It makes me feel good to help others — especially the elderly,” she said. “I used to be a health care provider. I enrolled in TSTC’s Phlebotomy Technician workforce training program and graduated with a certificate of completion. Then I became interested in working in billing and coding. The closest program I found was TSTC’s Health Information Technology.”

Morales said she is grateful that her instructor helped prepare her for interviews.

“My former instructor (Katrina) Stotts prepared us for a couple of mock interviews,” she said. “She gave me great advice to build my confidence.”

Stotts said Morales was a promising student.

“Maria showed a strong work ethic by prioritizing her work, managing her time effectively and asking questions when she needed help,” she said. “Several students reached out to her for assistance during their practicums because of her knowledge. In fact, (South Heart Clinic) was so impressed by her fast learning ability that she was hired before she completed the course.”

TSTC’s Health Information Technology program is offered 100% online. It includes an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Technology, a certificate of completion in Medical Coding and Billing Specialist, and a certificate of completion and an occupational skills achievement award in Medical Office Specialist.

According to onetonline.org, health information technologists and medical registrars can earn a yearly median salary of more than $66,350 in Texas, where projected job growth for the profession was forecast to increase 22% from 2020 to 2030.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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